As a result of what they described as gross injustice meted on the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State by the All Progressive Congress, APC, stakeholders of the party have threatened to vote the PDP in the 2019 general elections.
The group under the aegis of Cross River North Solidarity Forum (CRNSF) have vowed to vote against the party if the governorship ticket of the party which was zoned to the area in 2014 is not retained.
In a statement issued in Calabar by the group’s Spokesman, Joseph Ogah, they said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has not been fair to members of the party from the zone in terms of appointment and will resist any move by corrupt people who just defected to the party to hijack the ticket from the North.
The group said that if the APC does not want people from the northern senatorial district of the state in the party, they won’t hesitate to seek their political fortune elsewhere where every zone will be treated equally.
They questioned why zoning was observed in the recently held congresses from ward to national but some “greedy and self-seeking intruders” are going about planning to take what was zoned to the North in 2014.
“The message we have to pass in this press statement is simple; we will vote the PDP massively if the governorship ticket is given to another senatorial district. Akwa, Anambra etc have in line with the party instructions retained the 2014 zoning but in Cross River some people who don’t mean well for APC are trying to scuttle the agreement.
“In 2014, party positions were zoned and the governorship ticket was zoned to the North. Odey Ochicha from the North was APC governorship candidate and he came second in that election. It was because of Ochicha’s effort that President Buhari had up to 28,000 votes, the highest votes an opposition party ever had in the state. He went to evey corner of the state with his personal resources campaigning for himself and Buhari. The then party Chairman who is today eating large as the Niger Delta Minister never followed him for once to any campaign nor released funds for campaign.
“Many of us used our money to work for APC but when the party won, the zone was completed neglected. No reasonable appointment was given to the North despite the numerous juicy appointments that came to the state.
“The central alone got Minister of Niger Delta, NDDC Chairman, Career Ambassador, SA on Prosecution to the President, Auditor General etc. The South has the Head of Service, Ambassador, NDDC Commissioner, DG, National Centre for Women Development and many others. The North was left with nothing. Even the governorship candidate who sacrificed so much for the party in 2015 was not given anything reasonable.
“Are we less a senatorial district to others? Sir John Ochala was Acting Chairman after the former Chairman was appointed Chairman, the central fought that he must relinquish power to them or nothing. There was a mini Congress where a substantive chairman was elected from the central in line with the zoning arrangement. But today, the same people that said the North cannot keep state chairman and governorship ticket have turned back to fight that Central should that has the state Chairman should produce governorship candidate”, the statement reads in part.
The group added that “the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other NWC members are products of zoning. Nobody from the North contested against Ntufam Hilliard Eta, the national Vice Chairman (South South) because the position was zoned to the southern senatorial district. Nobody from the North contested against Dr. Achigbe because the state Chairmanship position was zoned to the central. So why are people struggling what was zoned to the North now? Are we slaves in APC?”
They urged the party to respect zoning adding that “If APC is ready to win Cross River State, aspirants from other zones must jettison their selfish interest to allow North field a candidate. Failure to do this will mark doom for APC as the PDP will have 100% support in the North in all positions.
“We also want to advice some APC leaders who have collected money from aspirant sponsored by PDP to sell out to trade with caution as a day of reckoning is just by the corner.
“Those who last year were shouting that the North must do 8 years like others but are now saying different things because of the bribes they have collected should trade with caution. APC must avoid another Governor Ortom and Saraki experience in Cross River State. Some aspirants are only in APC because they want a platform to achieve their desperate political ambition after which they will destroy the party and return to PDP. APC must be careful”.